posted on 2019-07-08 14:53:54
posted by Michael Harrison
Image courtesy: DNA India
India: KL Rahul, R Sharma, V Kohli, R Pant, MS Dhoni, K Jadhav/D Karthik, H Pandya, B Kumar/M Shami, K Yadav, Y Chahal, J Bumrah
New Zealand: H Nicholls, M Guptill, K Williamson, R Taylor, T Latham, J Neesham, C de Grandhomme, M Santner, M Henry, L Ferguson, T Boult
How India deal with the Trent Boult factor will be a decisive sub-plot in the game. Read: https://cricxtasy.com/blog/squiggle/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019-1st-semifinal-india-vs-new-zealand-key-battle-beware-of-boult
With a spot in the final on the line, India and New Zealand get ready to battle at Old Trafford in the first semifinal of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The former have been the form side of the tournament, losing the fewest number of games and also looking quite formidable. The Kiwis started with a bang but head into this game on the back of a three-match losing streak.
They might be down in terms of recent form but you underestimate New Zealand at your own peril. The team isn't flashy or star-studded barring Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor but like they have always done, it's a collective effort that often pulls them through. The fast bowling has been in good touch in the tournament and it remains pivotal to their success.
Lockie Ferguson is set to return after being rested for the England encounter due to a niggle. That would mean the senior man Tim Southee making way and no other changes are expected. New Zealand will have to bat well to make a fist of this contest, as they do have the bowlers to back things up. A lot will depend on how the support cast stand up in the batting.
India have been clinical for most parts of their campaign. Despite the vulnerability of their lower middle order, things have remained steady although they were tested in the games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh. KL Rahul's form is a massive boost, considering the void that Shikhar Dhawan created with his exit.
Rishabh Pant is yet to produce a big knock but has shown glimpses of the threat he can bring as the x-factor. India will ponder over a toss-up between Dinesh Karthik and Kedar Jadhav, as going in with just five bowlers would be a big gamble. The other call will be regarding whom to pick among Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami.
Will be updated shortly.
Odds and Predictions
Old Trafford has generally been good for batting with spin playing a part in the second half of the innings. If this trend continues, then the toss could be crucial, especially for New Zealand as they would have to face the two wrist spinners from India. Considering current form and team strength, I am going in with a 60-40 in favor of India in this clash. Ironically, New Zealand's best chance will be if they bowl first and manage to maximise the morning conditions with the new ball.